Sunday, May 22, 2005

Germany set for early fall elections.

Germany: As expected, Schroeder party(SPD) lost in North Rhine-Westphalia election, unexpected is how badly they lost to the CDU (45-37%) This has prompted call for early elections. The anti-capitalism talk couldn't save Schroeder from this crushing defeat.

"...The center-left Social Democrats had run North Rhine-Westphalia, a western region of 18 million people that includes the industrial Ruhr Valley, since 1966. But a rise in unemployment and discontent over the chancellor's efforts to trim the welfare state tested voters' patience in the party's traditional heartland. "Unfortunately, there is no reason this evening for the Social Democrats to celebrate," party chairman Franz Muentefering said in Berlin. "This is a bitter defeat." He told ZDF television that he and Schroeder would propose to party members that national elections, which were expected in the second half of 2006, be advanced by a year. "The chancellor and I have decided ... to propose that we aim for parliamentary elections this fall," Muentefering told ZDF television. He added that "Schroeder is the chancellor and the candidate for chancellor." Christian Democratic leader Angela Merkel was jubilant at Sunday's win. "The voters have given the Christian Democratic Union a sensational result today," a beaming Merkel told reporters. The outgoing regional government is the last at state level that mirrors the national government of Social Democrats and Greens, and Merkel had argued before the vote that a conservative win would signal the end of the "red-green model." The Social Democrats lost votes in a string of state elections last year, and this spring lost control of the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein, where they had governed with the Greens.
Update# More on the German elections from MEDIENKRITIK, Guardian and Reuters. Chances of Schroeder winning is slim to none. He can't Paul Martin his way out of this mess.

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